AUSTIN, Texas — With all the craziness that the annual South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) event brings, local startup incubator Capital Factory decided to kick things off with a demo day featuring the newest companies admitted into its program.
This crop includes companies tackling agriculture, subscription services, loyalty programs, and more.
Cratejoy is an interesting startup that lets you launch your own monthly subscription service, like The Fancy Box and similar businesses. Yes, that’s right, your dream of launching a “golf sock of the month” club can finally become a reality. Cratejoy’s software platform gives clients a way to manage an online store for subscriptions, tracks and automates shipping goods, and provides a set of analytics to assess how subscribers are interacting with the service. In an interview prior to the demo day, founder Amir Elaguizy told VentureBeat the company already has 12 clients that have collectively signed up over 27,000 subscribers. Each client pays a monthly fee for use of Cratejoy’s platform, plus $1 for every person that signs up. The startup currently has five full-time employees and is seeking funding.
Local Plant Source
Local Plant Source does exactly what its name implies — it runs a marketplace for all the available plants you can buy from local vendors. And it can get away with such a straightforward name because there isn’t anyone offering a service like this. The startup’s platform is useful for landscape companies and the like, which typically run into problems when one of the plants they’d originally planned to use is no longer available. Local Plant Source can show you other nearby vendors with the same plant and can suggest alternatives that are native to the region. The company does $20 million in revenue from plant sales annually and makes money by taking a five percent fee from transactions. Fletcher said the startup has plans to expand into the other large agricultural states, such as California and Pennsylvania.
Mahana is awesome because it’s attempting to provide the next step up in loyalty programs for restaurants — one that doesn’t require a damn key chain fob. The startup uses Apple’s iBeacon devices to sense when people enter a venue and keeps a record of their ordering activity, frequency, and more, provided users opt in to the service. Restaurants can sync this up with their point of sales software and really grow the business by offering unique rewards to customers. From the consumer end, Mahana offers an app that allows you to see your activity, chose and redeem rewards, and use the iBeacon technology to check a restaurant’s wait time.
Weeva wants to help your family keep a record of its best stories and has built a content platform that lets you easily write about memories, share photos, upload videos, and more. Each story can then be translated into a physical book, which I imagine many families will find appealing. I mean, who wouldn’t want a book about their life instead of a lame family lineage tree that is tucked away with important deeds, bills, and other valuable documents? Weeva stories that get turned into books can range in price from $30 to $200. The company is also working on a way to make the digital version of these stories into something that could be referenced and shared on their own, founder Hunter Sherman told VentureBeat. Weeva was founded in 2014, and the startup’s three founders are currently seeking a seed round of funding.
For companies that need commercial-level telephony and Internet services, there’s not really a good way to compare what’s available. RailYard has created a platform to help such companies with scheduling, pricing, and more. Its clients specify what they’re looking for, then they receive 3 to 5 offers, making commercial-level services compete for the business. Founded in 2013, the startup has five employees and has raised about $500,000 in seed funding.
Aiming to add bicycles to the growing lists of ride-sharing options, Spokefly is a bike subscription service with all the convenience of hailing a cab, as VentureBeat reported yesterday. The company enables people who aren’t using their bikes to rent them out to others. Those who wish to rent a bike but don’t really want the responsibility of keeping up with it all day, can choose to sign up for a monthly subscription service ($15 for 5 rides or $30 for unlimited rides). So when you’re done riding, you just lock up the bike and check in with Spokefly’s iOS and Android apps. You can even reserve a bike ahead of time. Right now the service is only available in Austin, but it’s geared to work for big, dense cities.